What We Teach

Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

September 27th, 2020- Mary’s reaction of praise

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Mary reacted with praise to God because she knew His character.

Context

This study continues to introduce learners to the miraculous preparation for the coming of Christ. Mary reacted in obedient faith as she was told she would give birth to Jesus. She expressed a hymn of praise to God and stressed her confidence in what He would do through the Son she would bear. Mary’s reaction will help students understand how miraculous the birth of Jesus is to humanity.

Learning Goals
  • Students will examine why Mary glorified God.
  • Students will identify personal reasons to praise God.

To view the entire lesson click here: Lesson-3-Marys-Reaction-of-Praise

wednesday activities 09/23/2020: Doubt it (Wk 3)

Bottom Line

Our questions don’t always get answered, but even when we don’t have every answer to every question, we can still have faith in our Redeemer

Scripture

Romans 8:28;

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose

 

Job1:1-3

1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.

 

Job 1:9

9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

 

Job 2:7-10

7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. 9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish[e] woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”  In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

 

Job 3:1-4

After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 2 He said:

3 “May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’

4 That day—may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it may no light shine on it.

 

Job 42:1-4

Then Job replied to the Lord:

2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’  Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students understand their faith and maintain it even when our questions don’t get answered.

Discussion Questions

  1. What stood out to you most from the story of Job?
  2. What are some reasons people might ask God, “Why is this happening?”
  3. Do you identify with Job? Why or why not?
  4. How can we move forward in our faith after experiencing tragedy that causes us to question God?
  5. Read Hebrews 11:13-16. What could this passage teach us about holding onto our faith even when our questions don’t get answered?
  6. Have you ever seen God redeem a difficult or painful situation in your life? Are there any difficult or painful situations in your life that you still need God to redeem?
  7. What are some things we shouldn’t say to someone who’s suffering?
  8. What are some ways we can comfort someone when they’re suffering?
  9. What’s one way today’s conversation is going to change the way you see your own doubts or questions?
  10. What’s one way today’s conversation is going to change the way you see others’ doubts or questions?

Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

September 20th, 2020- his Arrival foretold

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

God’s prophets spoke of the Messiah’s coming for centuries before His birth.

Context

This lesson continues to introduce Jesus and allows students to see a glimpse of the promise of Christ in the Old Testament. Students will discover that Jesus fulfilled the words of many prophets. Believers can take delight in knowing that since Creation God had been preparing the world for the birth of Jesus Christ.

Learning Goals
  • Students will examine how Jesus’ birth fulfilled Old Testament prophecies about the Savior made centuries before His birth.
  • Students will verbalize why they can have confidence that Christ’s identity as the Savior is true.

To view the whole Lesson Click here: Lesson-2-His-Arrival-Foretold

wednesday activities 09/16/2020: Doubt it (Wk 2)

Bottom Line

Its ok to have doubts about God but we should overcome our doubts through prayer and knowing God through Scripture.

Scripture

John 20:24-29

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Romans 10:17

17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Mark 9:24

 “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

James 4:7-10

7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that its ok to doubt and question God.

Discussion Questions

  1. What stood out to you most from today’s conversation?
  2. Do you identify with Gideon and Thomas? Why or why not?
  3. When Gideon and Thomas asked for evidence, how did they display . . .Humility?  Boldness?  Faith? Hope?
  4. Read James 4:1-10. What could this passage teach us about the attitude we should have when approaching God with our questions?
  5. Have you ever felt unable to fully believe in Jesus, even though you tried? Share that story, if you feel comfortable.
  6. Have you ever asked God for evidence to help you believe or understand God’s directions? If so, how did that go?
  7. If we ask God for a specific sign or piece of evidence, does God always give it to us? Why or why not?
  8. What are some ways we could use our words and actions to either comfort, or provide evidence to, people who don’t believe in Jesus?
  9. What’s one way today’s conversation is going to change the way you see your own doubts or questions?
  10. What’s one way today’s conversation is going to change the way you see others’ doubts or questions?

Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

September 13th, 2020- his identity in scripture

Biblical Passage
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Jesus Christ, who offers eternal life to all people, is the central figure of the Bible.

Context

In this lesson and the three that follow, students will be introduced to Jesus through prophecy and through His birth. Christ was with God from the beginning of time. When we study Scripture with this in mind, we begin to see that Christ’s work is present in the entire Bible, not just the Gospels.

Learning Goals
  • Students will examine how Scriptures from the Old and New Testaments point to Jesus as the Messiah.
  • Students will begin to value Jesus as the Messiah who came to save them from their sins and give them eternal life.

To view the complete lesson plan click here: His-Identity-in-Scripture

wednesday activities 09/09/2020: Doubt it (Wk 1)

Bottom Line

You’re not alone in your questions.

Scripture

Psalm 22:2-3

My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,  by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;  you are the one Israel praises.

 

Psalm 88:3-4

I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death.

I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like one without strength.

 

Hebrews 4:14-16

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[a] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that they aren’t the only ones to experience doubt when it comes to faith.

Discussion Questions

  1. Would you say you’re usually more trusting or skeptical of what you’re told? Give us an example!
  2. What stood out to you most from today’s conversation?
  3. Which Psalm (22 or 88) did you identify with more, and why?
  4. Have you ever had a question or doubt about God? Share it, if you feel comfortable.
  5. Have you ever shared one of your questions or doubts about God with someone else? If so, how did that conversation go?
  6. Has anyone ever shared a question or a doubt with you? If so, how did you feel and respond? Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
  7. When was the last time you talked to God about one of your questions or doubts?
  8. Based on our conversation today, what do you think God would want us to know about our questions or doubts?
  9. Read Hebrews 4:14-16. What can we learn from this passage about dealing with our own doubts and questions?
  10. What’s one way today’s conversation is going to change the way you see your own doubts or questions?
  11. What’s one way today’s conversation is going to change the way you see others’ doubts or questions?

Try This

Challenge students to take a few moments to write a psalm to God, expressing any questions or doubts they might have. It could be a poem, a song, a letter, or even a drawing.


wednesday activities 09/02/2020: Now & later wk5

BOTTOM LINE

Wisdom now can help you miss mistakes later.

SCRIPTURE

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs
3:5-6 NIV).

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that making good decisions today can positively impact their tomorrow.

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders—in this phase, students might not be able to tell the difference between good and bad gut instincts. Some students might interpret an impulse or peer pressure as a “gut instinct” that they should follow. This week, aim to help them begin to understand that this tension exists, and that the more you listen to wise people, the wiser your instincts will become.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What’s one thing you hope is true about your life in 5 days? 5 months? 5 years?
  2. How would you describe 6th grade you? What’s one thing you thought in 6th grade that you see differently now?
  3. What’s one “gray area” of your life where you have to make decisions that aren’t clearly right or wrong?
  4. What do you do with the questions you have that you can’t just Google?
  5. Read Proverbs 3:5-6. What do you think it means to “lean not on your own understanding”?
  6. How do you decide if someone is a good advice-giver
    or not?
  7. When can trusting your gut be a good thing? When can it be bad?
  8. How would your life be different if you never asked God or other people for wisdom?
  9. Where are one or two places you can go for wisdom when you need it?

TRY THIS

Leaders—Proverbs is a book of wisdom written by an older person to help those younger than him, and this week we want to give our students the opportunity to do something similar!

Pass out one “I wish I knew” card along and one pen to each student. Give students a minute or two to fill in the blanks of the following sentence with wisdom they’ve learned and want to pass along to others: I wish I knew __________ because __________. Remind your students that the goal is to share wisdom that they’ve learned in their own lives and why that wisdom might be valuable for someone younger than them to learn now. Leaders: It may be helpful to provide your OWN answer to get your group thinking about their answers before they write them down.

I wish I knew every family was dysfunctional because then I wouldn’t be so hard on my own.

After everyone has written down their wisdom, share them with the group, and then collect the cards and pass them along to your Ministry Leader. Your Ministry Leader will select a few standout cards to feature on screen as students come into your large group environment for the remainder of the series. 

QUOTE

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” —Augustine


wednesday activities 08/26/2020: Color Rush Event

Come out to the ball field at 6:30 for a fun night of games and fellowship for Color Rush. 


wednesday activities 08/19/2020: Now & Later Series

SCRIPTURE

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold (Proverbs 22:1 NIV).

 BOTTOM LINE

A good reputation is good for you now and good for you later.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students understand how making good decisions about their reputation can lead them to the friends they want now and the opportunities they want later.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Should you care about what people think and say about you? Why or why not? (Leaders—let students discuss this for a few minutes to get your discussion started.)
  2. How is caring about what people think different than caring about your relationships with people?
  3. Read Proverbs 22:1. How does a bad reputation possibly hold someone back? What are the advantages of a
    good reputation?
  4. Without using names, how have you seen a good/bad reputation affect lives?
  5. What are some ways you can repair a bad reputation?
  6. By the time you graduate, what do you personally want to be known for by . . .
    1. Your church friends?
    2. Your school friends?
    3. The adults in your life?
  7. What can you start doing now to have that reputation with those groups?

TRY THIS

Leaders—as a closing activity, take each character trait below one by one and ask your students on a scale of 1-10 how they think 1) their parents would rate them, 2) their school friends would rate them, and 3) their church friends would rate them.

 

  • Trustworthiness
  • Kindness
  • Loyalty
  • Honesty
  • Patience
  • Realness

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders—it might be easy for this week’s conversation to get hyper-focused on bad reputations and where they can lead. While it’s important to talk about the consequences of a bad reputation, it could end up making our students feel unhealthy shame or guilt if the conversation stays there. Try to keep the conversation positive and moving. Talk about where a good reputation can lead and what it takes to fix a bad reputation.

QUOTE

“If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.” —D.L. Moody


wednesday activities 08/12/2020: Now & Later Series

BOTTOM LINE

The end you want tomorrow is connected to what you do today.

SCRIPTURE

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty (Proverbs 14:23 NIV).

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that their actions now can lead them to the places they want to be and the person they want to become later.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Have you ever set a goal and achieved it? What was it?
  2. What’s one goal that you’ve been afraid or hesitant to go after?
  3. Read Proverbs 14:23 NIV. It’s tempting to think this verse is talking about money, but we all know that not all wealth comes from hard work and not all poverty comes from laziness. So, what is this verse really getting at? (Leaders—be sure to review the “Think About This” before asking this question.  As it relates to this discussion, in this verse, profit = reaching a goal, and poverty = not reaching a goal.)
  4. What are the biggest obstacles that keep us from achieving our goals? Why’s it easier to talk about a goal than actually start it?
  5. Why do you think it’s important for us to set goals for ourselves even in high school?
  6. What does it look like to begin acting like an “owner” when it comes to our goals for the future?
  7. We have more ownership over our goals than we sometimes think. Does that idea make you feel better or worse?
  8. “The end you want tomorrow is connected to what you do today.” Think of one thing you want for your future. What’s one goal you could set to make that future a reality?

TRY THIS

Leaders—using some notecards and pens or the Notes app on your phone, encourage your students to write down the one goal they want to start working on this week. Then, check in with your students later in the week to see how
it’s going.

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders—the proverb we looked at this week says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads to poverty.” In group this week, be clear about what this proverb is not saying. In this verse, profit does not equal material wealth. Remember that you have students coming from all different socio-economic levels and avoid talking about poverty and profit in overly simplistic ways. Instead, steer the conversation toward the understanding that “profit” is the benefit we get from hard work—in any form.

QUOTE

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ―Mother Theresa


wednesday activities 08/05/2020: 

MZS will hang out in the gym, have snacks, and a short devotional. 

wednesday activities 07/29/2020: 

BOTTOM LINE

If you want to be heard, use gentle words.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that choosing to use gentle words can help them keep their influence and lead to healthier relationships.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What are some ways you’re harsh with people that don’t involve words?
  2. Which of the following ways of being harsh are you most tempted to use? Sarcasm, brutal honesty, social media, clapback, ignoring them.
  3. Have you ever been on the receiving end of a harsh word? If so, what did that feel like?
  4. Has someone ever responded to you in a kinder way than you felt like you deserved? If so, what happened?
  5. Why does a “gentle answer” often diffuse a situation
    or argument? 
  6. What does mending a relationship look like after you’ve said something you now regret?
  7. Without naming names, in what relationship do you need to start using less harsh words/tone this week?
  8. In a culture where people often don’t use gentle words, why is it important for Jesus followers to be good at this?
  9. What does answering with gentle words look like practically?

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders—the specific proverb we looked at this week mentioned “a gentle word.” Be sure to steer the conversation to include the body language we use and the tone we speak with. The truth is, teenagers are really good at getting a reaction from people. But, they’re oftentimes not great at getting the reaction they want—and part of that may be because they aren’t aware of the message their body language and tone is communicating.

TRY THIS

Leaders—to wrap things up, spend a few minutes brainstorming ways we can calm ourselves down before responding/reacting in potentially triggering situations this week. (e.g. count to 10 before responding, take 3 deep breaths, etc.)

 QUOTE

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” —Mother Teresa


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

July 26th, 2020- more than on our own

Biblical Passage
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Because we do not have the option to not engage the world, God has promised to be with us every step of the way.

Context

It was never God’s intention that humanity should live and act independent from Him. His promise was and is that He will be there and will never leave us nor forsake us. As Joshua was preparing to lead the Israelites into the land God that had promised, it was important for him to remember that the God who had maintained His presence among the people and had guided the steps of Moses would also do the same for Joshua and the people. In this last lesson of the Squeeze series, students will see that God has handed us the task of going into the world and presenting ourselves as His witnesses. His promise continues: “I am with you always.”

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will understand that no matter what the circumstances are and no matter what God’s assignment is, His promise is to go before us, go with us, and never leave us.
  • Transform: Your students will begin to value God’s promise that He is faithful to remain with us no matter what we are going through.

View the entire lesson plan here: More-Than-On-Our-Own


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

July 19th, 2020- push through it

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Though it can be so difficult at times that others falter, we must stand firm and strive for the goal that is in Christ Jesus.

Context

Paul was an extreme example of perseverance. His very life and ministry gave definition to the word. It was fitting that he call on Christians everywhere to follow his example of pushing forward toward a goal even though the road was hard and often cruel and dangerous. In this fifth lesson of the Squeeze series, we’ll see that God never promised that life for the believer would be easy and that there are no assurances of safety along the way. There is, however, the assurance of the prize waiting at the end.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will understand what it looks like to live a life that is goal-oriented and know how to persevere through the difficulties that seek to prevent them from reaching the goal.
  • Transform: Students will apply their understanding by determining weaknesses that keep them from maturing and reaching goals in their spiritual life.

View the whole lesson plan here: Push-Through-It


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

July 12th, 2020- Loving the unlovable

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Our response to those with whom we have conflict should be to love them.

Context

This lesson comes from Luke’s account of the Teachings of the Kingdom, better known as the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus reintroduced the teachings of God that had been taught from the Law but had become cluttered by the interpretations of religious leaders and theologians down through the ages. Jesus’ words must have fallen fresh on the ears of His disciples as He gave them things to think about that were either culturally unacceptable at that time or that they simply had not considered before.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will understand that in order to deal with people who are hard to love, their way of thinking has to change.
  • Transform: Your students will apply ways that they may share their love instead of their hatred and animosity in an effort to have their minds changed.

View the whole lesson plan here: Loving-the-Unlovable


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

July 5th, 2020- going on the defense

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

There are forces of spiritual evil at work around us, but God has equipped us to withstand that evil.

Context

Evil is a reality, existing both externally and internally. It is part of sin that inhabits this life. Paul wanted to reassure the Christians at Ephesus that although there were strong evil forces at work in the world, Christ’s followers would not be defenseless. We have been equipped with everything that we need to more than withstand the attacks of Satanic forces. The third lesson in the Squeeze series teaches students that they have the strong armor of God that will never be overcome by evil when it is applied and used. We just need to know that it’s always available to us and that we never have to be caught off guard.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will understand that they are not defenseless against the forces of evil but rather that they have been given a defense that comes only from God.
  • Transform: Students will apply their understanding by identifying ways in which each of the parts of the armor of God can be appropriately used.

View the whole lesson plan here: Going-on-the-Defense

wednesday activities 06/30/2020: 

MZS day trip to Lake Lanier Islands Water Park. 


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

June 28th, 2020- The enemy within

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

There is conflict within us between our spirit and our flesh that can only be overcome by the grace of Jesus Christ.

Context

We battle an enemy. Sometimes that enemy is the outside world. But what if the enemy is within? In his explanation of sin and how it relates to the Law, Paul shared with the Christians at Rome that they could expect for there to be a continuing battle raging within them. Although saved from sin, our spirits still inhabit corrupt and sinful bodies that are tempted to live out our sinful desires. This creates a tension that requires us to live by the faith that we profess in Jesus Christ, who enables us to overcome the flesh. Squeeze. Lesson 2 helps your students understand this tension.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will understand the dangers of thinking that they are somehow immune to any conflict between the spirit and the flesh.
  • Transform: Students will apply their understanding by identifying ways that they may fall back on Christ to help them overcome their sinful nature.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading: The Enemy Within

no wednesday night activities 06/24/2020: 


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

June 21st, 2020- The Real Enemy

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

True followers of Christ will encounter opposition in a world that doesn’t want to understand the nature of God and His ways.

Context

Jesus did not represent the kind of ‘Messiah’ that the Jews of that day had expected. He represented a kingdom not of this world, its way of thinking, or its expectations. Jesus wanted His disciples to understand that although following Him had eternal value, there was a cost to be paid in a world who neither knew Him, nor cared anything about His message and teachings of the Kingdom of God. These six lessons will help students define what they’re up against, and how they are to do battle in a world of opposition.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will understand that if they choose to follow Christ and be obedient to Him, then it’s not a question of if but when they will face persecution for their commitment.
  • Transform: Your students will begin to value a life so committed to Christ that they will be willing to face persecution for His sake.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading:

Wednesday Night Worship 06/17/2020: 

REC Night on the MZ baseball field with snacks. 


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

June 14th, 2020- Barnabas: Supporting as we go

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Barnabas constantly uplifted and supported those around him as he lived his life on mission for God.

Context

The call to be on mission does not discard the giftedness of individuals. God has made us unique, and He uses us in distinctive ways as He equips us for His purposes. In this last lesson of Living Loud, we see that Barnabas had a particular role to play. He was not cut out of the same mold as Paul. His was a supporting role as an encourager, and although there is not quite as much to read about him as Paul, it doesn’t mean that his role was not just as important and useful to God. We can see through all of these lessons that God gifted and used His servants uniquely to accomplish His mission.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will understand the value of support and encouragement as demonstrated by Barnabas throughout the book of Acts.
  • Transform: Students will begin to value just how important it is for them to encourage and support each other in the midst of a world that can often be hostile.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading:


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

June 7th, 2020- Philip: Anytime, Anywhere

Biblical Passage
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Philip was willing for God to use him anytime and anywhere.

Context

Phillip’s lack of hesitation to go into the desert even though he didn’t know why he was going there is evidence of a willing and trusting heart that is useful to God. In Living Loud, we have looked at different characters of Scripture who made themselves available to God under all circumstances. This week we will consider what it means to be part of God’s mission that calls us to be ready at a moment’s notice. Philip’s willingness to be available to God may have had a great impact on the Kingdom of God on an entirely different continent.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will learn that God wants them to be available to Him in any situation.
  • Transform: Students will identify potential opportunities in their daily lives to be on mission with God.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading: Philip-Anytime-anywhere  

Wednesday Night Worship 06/03/2020: 

Summer Kick off Party on the baseball field @ 6:30pm


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

May 31st, 2020- Nehemiah: Rising to the Challenge

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

In the face of great odds and much ridicule, Nehemiah and the Jews rebuilt Jerusalem’s wall.

Context

While we would like to think that people would cheer us on as we strive to carry out God’s mission, the reality is that we are likely to encounter scorn and ridicule from those who stand in opposition to God’s plans. Living Loud means that whenever that happens, we need to rely on God’s strength to continue to carry out His work, because if it is His work, then He will accomplish it. And He chooses to accomplish it through us.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will learn that when God calls them to a task, He will provide them with the strength to complete it.
  • Transform: Your students will evaluate their lives and look for how God is strengthening them for the tasks to which He has called them.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading: Nehemiah-Rising-to-the-Challenge

Wednesday Night Worship 05/27/2020: POST PONED

Summer Kick off Party on the baseball field.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

May 24th, 2020- John the Baptist: On Mission Regardless of Cost

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

John the Baptist paid the ultimate price for living his life on mission.

Context

Any study of the lives of the prophets makes one truth painfully clear—obedience is often costly. If we are going to be on mission with God, then we have to be willing to pay the price. Living Loud means that bearers of the gospel of Jesus Christ will discover that some people do not receive the gospel as good news. But even if our efforts are met with hostility and our very lives are threatened, God calls us to be faithful to His mission.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will learn that there is often a cost for living on mission with God.
  • Transform: Your students will identify ways in which living on mission for God might cost them and evaluate how committed they are to staying on mission.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading: John-the-Baptist-On-Mission-Regardless-of-Cost 

Wednesday Night Worship 05/20/2020: 

What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do – Week 3  

 BOTTOM LINE

When you don’t know what to do, do the next right thing.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students understand that doing the right thing is doing the right thing today and not controlling the outcome for tomorrow.

SCRIPTURE

Genesis 39:2-10

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What would you do if…You found a $1 bill on the ground? Or $100?
  2. Who is someone you know who shows “integrity”? How do they show it?
  3. What are some things that keep us from doing the right thing?
  4. How can doing the next right thing cost you something?
  5. Why should we care about “doing the right thing”?
  6. How does choosing to do the right thing affect the people around you?
  7. By doing the right thing, Joseph proved himself to be a person with integrity. What does it look like to be a person with integrity in high school?
  8. At this point, talk through the “The Next Right Step” decision making card. (Note to Ministry Leader: This card is found in the XP folder in your curriculum download). If you do not have the printed cards, have students write down their answers to the following questions:
    1. I don’t know what to do about ______________.
    2. I can talk to______________.

The next right step for me to take is to ______________.

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, when students were little kids, they made decisions based on outcomes and consequences. Part of becoming a mature person is making decisions based on value and identity, on WHO we want to be, not just whether we want to get into trouble. The tricky part is maturity doesn’t happen all at once. Through conversations like this one, as leaders we can guide our students along each point on this journey and help point students in a more mature direction.

 

TRY THIS

Leaders, this week follow up with your students and talk about the XP questions. Sometimes in group, talks about doing the right thing can be difficult to discuss in group, but more discussion can be prompted when you follow up outside
of group.

QUOTE

“The time is always right to do the right thing.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

May 17th, 2020- Elijah: On mission in a Hostile World

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

God encouraged Elijah to stay committed to His mission even though the world around Elijah was hostile.

Context

Elijah knew what it was like to live his life out loud. But in doing so, it meant running up against opposition. Accepting God’s invitation to be on mission with Him requires a step of faith; remaining committed to God’s mission when the going gets tough often requires us to make a leap of faith. In this second lesson of Living Loud, we’ll discover that God never promised us that it would be easy to be on mission with Him—but He did promise us that He would always be with us. Even when it seems that things are spinning out of control in this world, we need to remember that God is still sovereign and that He will accomplish His purposes in His time.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will learn that even as the world around them may be hostile to their lifestyle, God calls them to stay committed to Him.
  • Transform: Students will begin to value the fact that God is constantly with them as they live for Him.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading: Elijah-On-mission-in-a-Hostile-World

Wednesday Night Worship 05/13/2020: 

BOTTOM LINE

When there’s nothing you can do, God is with you.

SCRIPTURE

Genesis 37:18-22 NIV, Genesis 37:32 NIV, and Genesis 39:2a, NIV.

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To have students understand that when circumstances are out of our control, we can be sure God is with them. The idea is for students to know that even if things in their lives don’t feel fixed or better, they can have confidence in God being present.

This guide is a suggestion, not a formula. Adjust the questions and activities as needed, and don’t feel like you need to do, or ask, everything you see here.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Describe a situation where you felt things were out of your control. (Examples: a pandemic that forces a national lockdown, being stuck in traffic, when the electricity goes out, etc).
What are some words you would use to describe what you felt in that situation? What’s the worst part of being in that situation?
In your own words, describe Joseph’s situation. What do you think were some thoughts Joseph had while in the cistern? What would be some of your thoughts?
One of the worst parts of Joseph’s situation was his being alone. Why do you think situations that feel out of our control are more difficult to handle when you feel alone?
If you weren’t alone in that situation, how would it have changed how you felt about it?
What are some ways we can be reminded that God is with us?
Why do we often want to have perfect resolutions, even when we know they don’t always happen?
Don’t skip this: What could help you get through situations when you feel stuck?
If one of your friends were in that situation, what would you say to them or remind them?

TRY THIS

Leaders, this week will present a lot of tensions that may not be resolved, challenge your students to read and memorize this verse or find something that can remind them that they’re not alone and that God is with them.

THINK ABOUT THIS

This week may feel like there isn’t a resolution by the end. Try to avoid resolving the tension this week creates by tying everything up in a bow. Remember, the idea isn’t to try to make everything sound “fixed” by the end of our time together, but to reassure students of the reality of God being with them, even when circumstances don’t go how we like or when we are left with more question marks than answers.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

May 10th, 2020- Moses: Surrender to the Mission

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Though he felt inadequate, Moses surrendered to God’s call to mission.

Context

While most of us claim to want to be on mission with God, when His call to action comes, we often hesitate. Isn’t someone else better equipped to carry out this task? What is this going to cost me? Isn’t there another way? If we are going to surrender to God’s call to mission, then we have to learn to trust Him—to trust that God is sovereign, trust that He can indeed use us despite all of our flaws, and trust that the success of the mission ultimately rests in God’s hands and not our own. These six lessons in the Living Loud series will take a closer look at the specific lives of those who responded to God’s call to the mission, living their lives out loud for the world to see and hear.

Learning Goals

• Explore: Students will learn that God calls unlikely people to carry out His mission.
• Transform: Students will examine their willingness to surrender to God’s call to mission.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading: Moses-Surrender-to-the-Mission

Wednesday Night Worship 05/06/2020: 

What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do- week 1

BOTTOM LINE

Pay attention to how you affect your family.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To have students begin to see the role they play in their family dynamic, and to encourage students to behave in a way that elevates others in their family over themselves.

SCRIPTURE

Genesis 37:6-8 NIV

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross (Philippians 2:3-8 NIV).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What’s something you do at home that you wouldn’t do at school or vice versa? (Example: You throw your food away in the cafeteria, but you don’t take your food in from the table at home.)
  2. If you were one of Joseph’s brothers, how would you describe Joseph? If you were Joseph, how would you describe your siblings?
  3. What you have said to help Joseph approach this situation differently with his brothers?
  4. How could understanding the brothers’ point of view change Joseph’s actions towards them? How has not seeing a situation from others’ perspective caused conflict in your family?
  5. Think about a time where you were in the middle of a family conflict. How could seeing things from someone else’s perspective have caused that situation to go differently?
  6. Read Philippians 2:3-8. How is choosing to see someone else’s perspective over your own valuing others
    above yourself?
  7. What are some reasons why this passage could be more difficult to live out with our families than with others?
  8. What are some situations where being unselfish with your family would be difficult? (Example: who controls the remote, who does the dishes etc.) What could you do differently?
  9. When a conflict happens with your family this week, what are some ways you can consider someone else’s perspective before acting out of your own interests?

TRY THIS

Leaders, follow up with your students to remind them that when a situation with their family comes up, to consider their family’s perspective before they respond. Help them with that perspective by asking questions about both their perspective and what they think the other family members’ perspective may have.

THINK ABOUT THIS

In this phase, a lack of self-awareness is developmentally normal. It may be hard for students to see how they contribute to different conflicts in their family setting. Gently try to turn their attention to how they may be contributing to family conflict (without judging them or creating shame) but by trying to open their eyes to compassion and empathy for others in their family.

QUOTE

“What can you do to promote peace? Go home and love your family.” -Mother Teresa


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

May 3rd, 2020- Cause & Effect

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Living the gospel message by the endurance and encouragement granted to us by God brings glory to God.

Context

Often the focus of the gospel message can be placed on what it means for us. However, the work of the gospel in and through our lives ought to result in our glorifying God (which means to make Him known). Everything comes back to Him. This last lesson in Crux brings to light the fact that although it’s not always easy or even what we want to do, as we continue to live together in accordance with the message of the gospel, we participate in the fruit of the message: the praise and worship of God.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will understand that we are given encouragement and endurance to live out the gospel in unity with other believers.
  • Transform: Your students will apply how to live out the gospel by learning to live in unity with other believers.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading:Cause-and-Effect 

Wednesday Night Worship 04/29/2020: 

FRVR FREE VIRTUAL CONCERT & ZOOM MEETINGS


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

April 26th, 2020- The Good Life

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
 
Biblical Truth

Since we have been entrusted with the message of salvation, we must prove to be faithful in all of our actions, overcoming evil with good.

Context

Crux reminds us that the gospel is practical on every level. This fifth lesson basically reminds us that we have to practice what we preach. Because we are called to present the message of the gospel to the world, we also have to live purposefully in alignment with that message. We want others to look at our lives and be able to see what the gospel means instead of just hearing about it when we talk. Romans 12:9–21 isn’t an exhaustive list of what this should look like, but it does remind us of the importance of doing good.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will understand that the message of the gospel should be made known through the way they live.
  • Transform: Students will identify areas of their lives that both do and don’t line up with the gospel and commit to living a life of good.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading:The-Good-Life 

Wednesday Night Worship 04/22/2020: Happy Easter Series

BOTTOM LINE

Easter means you’re never alone.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

We want students to have the confidence to know that they’re never alone because the Holy Spirit is there for them personally and shows up through others.

SCRIPTURE

“But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.” (John 16:7 NLT).        

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NLT).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What’s one unpopular opinion you think you might be alone in having? (For example: “Star Wars Episode 1 was the best!” or “Taylor Swift is only ‘okay.’”)
  2. When is being alone a good thing and when is it a bad thing?
  3. In what area of your life do you feel alone?
  4. How can the way you see situations change when you know you are never alone?
  5. What are some reasons you might think that Jesus said to the disciples that it’s better to have the Holy Spirit rather than Him?
  6. When you start to feel alone, what are some ways that you can remind yourself that you are never alone?
  7. Don’t miss this: Why is it still hard to face difficult situations even when you know you’re not alone?
  8. Talk about a time when God showed up for you through other people. [Note: Be prepared to share a story from your life first.]
  9. Don’t miss this: In what area of life can this small group be there for you right now?

TRY THIS

Pay particular attention to students who share areas where they feel alone, and reach out to them this week by shooting them a text that says: “Hey, thanks for sharing ______ this week. I’d love to be there for you when it comes to this area.
How can I help?”

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, at this phase, it can be difficult for students to have the perspective that their current situation won’t last forever. So if they feel alone, it seems they’ll be alone forever. If they feel sad, it seems they’ll be sad forever. And while it’s tempting to say, “This isn’t forever,” that isn’t exactly helpful right now. Instead, try letting students know they’re never alone, no matter how long this season or circumstance may last.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

April 19th, 2020- Getting the Word Out

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Because everyone can be saved through faith, the message of salvation must be shared with all people.

Context

This fourth lesson in Crux brings to light a crucial aspect of sharing our faith. To be effective, our witness must lead people to a faith relationship with God in Jesus Christ. The two previous lessons provided the basic biblical facts that point toward salvation. The first fact is that people have sinned and broken their relationship with God. The second fact is that Jesus’ death provides forgiveness and reconciliation. Salvation results from putting full faith in these truths in our hearts and proclaiming them to others. In this passage, Paul also traces the process that brings the message of salvation to others. He says that someone must be sent to preach so that people can hear the message and thus believe. This pattern is still the way that we should share the Word with the world.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will understand the plan and process that God has set up for reaching the world with His good news.
  • Transform: Your students will practice the skill of sharing how others can express faith in Christ and receive His salvation.

Here is the Master Teacher plan for further reading: Getting-the-Word-Out 

Wednesday Night Worship 04/15/2020: Happy Easter

BOTTOM LINE

Easter means new life is possible.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

We want students to know that sin leads to death in one way or another, but there is always hope for new life.

SCRIPTURE

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans
6:23 NLT).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. When you think about Easter and the Easter story, how is the way that we celebrate it (eggs, pastels, chocolate, etc.) not necessarily accurate?
  2. What are some sins that most people think are a big deal? What are some sins that people think aren’t a big deal?
  3. Why is there so much baggage when people talk about sin?
  4. We said earlier that sin always leads to the death of something. Obviously, sin won’t always cause you to die, but what can sin cause the death of?
  5. Have you already seen how sin has caused the death or end of something in your life? Would you be willing to share that? Or another way to phrase this question: Where have you already seen sin cause the death of something in your life?
  6. Don’t miss this: What are some areas in your life where you need new life?
  7. If new life is always possible and Jesus has already paid for your sin, why does it matter if we sin? How does it benefit us to avoid sin? Or why would we want to? [Note: Small Group Leaders, try to tie the conversation back to this: Because God wants more for us, it’s going to hurt us in one way or another.]

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, at this phase, students are developing a faith of their own and often that will mean questioning what they’ve always been taught and why it matters. When talking about sin, it can be helpful to unpack not only how God deals with it but why it matters to Him at all. That’s why this week is a great opportunity to remind students that sin always leads to the death of someone or something. And because God loves you, He always says “no” to things that will ultimately hurt you.

TRY THIS

Be observant of students that you may need to follow up with for faith decisions. See the salvation conversation guide below:

SALVATION CONVERSATION GUIDE FOR STUDENTS

There may be one word that best describes teenagers and the phase they’re in right now: ownership. They’re looking at the world around them and the things they’ve inherited from their family—the traditions, morals, values, and faith. And they’re making decisions about whether what they’ve observed is something they want for themselves. The decisions that students make now about salvation and a relationship with Jesus carry a lot of weight because they’re old enough to understand what that means for their future. The best thing for a student to understand at this point in their lives is that God is for them. And that, in all things, His grace is real, and it covers all of their sin—past, present, and future.

WHAT TO SAY:

GOD LOVES YOU

  • You were made in the image of God. God sees you, He accepts you, and He loves you.
  • But we’re broken. We behave in a way that’s harmful to ourselves and separates us from God. That’s called sin. Sin convinces us to focus on ourselves—that we matter most and we know best. While God isn’t mad at us, He does know our sin will hurt us—it harms how we understand ourselves, how we treat others, and how we view Him.
  • Our sin keeps us from seeing what’s true about God, ourselves, and others. Sin convinces us that we know best, that God is against us, and that we matter more than those around us. Ultimately, sin keeps us from God Himself.
  • ASK: How have you seen sin hurt you? How have you seen sin hurt others? What is the biggest problem of sin?

GOD IS FOR YOU

  • God knew our sin would make us want to hide from Him and look out only for our best interest with no regard for others.
  • God also knew that when we sin, we’d think God would want to come after us to punish us. And that we’d be tempted to distance ourselves from Him to avoid His punishment. But God isn’t interested in punishing our sin as revenge. Instead, He wants to free us to live for something better.
  • To prove how committed God was to life with us and for us, God sent His Son, Jesus, to go to the greatest length possible to demonstrate His love. Jesus died on the cross for us to show us God is for us. Jesus paid the price of our sin with His death.
  • After three days, Jesus was resurrected from the dead, proving He has ultimate power, and that He can do what He says He’ll do. And we can know that nothing—not even death—can separate us from Him. When we put our faith in Him, He has the power to transform ourlives and to make us new.
  • ASK: What was the purpose of God sending Jesus to die? How do you feel about someone who is willing to die for you? How did sending Jesus deal with our problem with sin?

WHOEVER BELIEVES IN JESUS

  • Believing in what God demonstrated through Jesus is like accepting a gift.
  • We accept the gift when we decide to trust that the God who made us is for us—that He is willing to do anything to prove His love and He wants what’s best for us. We show trust by living in a way that reflects our confidence in what God says is best.
  • We know that God loves us and nothing we do could ever jeopardize our standing with Him. No amount of good behavior and no amount of sin will change the way He feels about us.
  • We open the gift when we use our lives to give the same love to others that Jesus showed to us.
  • ASK: What does it mean to trust what God did for us? How does knowing about God’s love change the way we see Him? How does someone live differently when they trust that God loves them?

WHAT NOT TO SAY:

  1. “Invite Jesus into your heart.”

For students, the phrase “inviting Jesus into my heart” can sound childish and not fully represent the important faith decision being made.

  1. “You have to pray like this . . . ”

Students are going to express their faith through their own understanding of it. Don’t get hung up on the “right words” but rather the heart with which they pray.

  1. Any answers you make up

Don’t make up answers to question you don’t know yourself. “I don’t know” is a legitimate answer to questions that your student has about faith. There’s so much we don’t understand about how God works and how the Holy Spirit enters our life. And that’s okay.

Preparing for and having this conversation with the students in your group might raise some of your own. If so, don’t hesitate to reach out to a ministry leader at your church to chat about these things.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

April 12th, 2020- He is Not Here (Easter)

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Table Talk Question

How different would our story be if Jesus had been found dead in His tomb?

Biblical Truth

Jesus completed His work through His death on the cross and resurrection from the tomb.

Biblical Context

Jesus came to earth to be with us, to minister to us, and to teach us about God. Without His sacrificial death on the cross, He would have been a great teacher who taught strongly held convictions of what it meant to be righteous. But He did choose to die on the cross to redeem us from our sins and bring us into the presence of God. Yet, death could not hold Him in the grave. After three days, God raised Him from the grave and resurrected Him from the dead. His death was real, and so was His resurrection. Having conquered sin and death for all eternity, He was raised victorious. Upon this truth lies the crux of Christianity—Jesus is who He said He was, and He did what He said He would do. Paul said that if the resurrection is false, Christians are to be pitied more than anyone (1 Cor. 15:19). The women who witnessed the resurrected Jesus and the empty tomb heard the angels witness to His resurrection: “Why do you seek the living among the dead. He is not here, but has risen.”

Learning Goals
  • Students will examine the evidence that Jesus was no longer in the tomb, but was alive.
  • Students will verbalize what the resurrection means to them.

Here is the Master Teacher Plan for further reading:He-Is-Not-Here-Easter 

Wednesday Night Worship 04/08/2020: Happy Easter

BOTTOM LINE

Easter means fear isn’t final.

SCRIPTURE

“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54b-55 NLT).

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you  (Romans 8:11 NLT).

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that Jesus’ victory over death can help them move forward through any fear they
may face.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What’s one stereotypical thing you are afraid of? What’s one thing you were afraid of when you were younger?
  2. What’s a fear you’ve left behind as you’ve grown up? What’s a fear that you’ve kept or that has grown with you?
  3. What’s a very real and practical fear that you’ve noticed in the past week?
  4. Don’t miss this: In what ways can fear impact how you make decisions or determine the direction of your life?
  5. Read 1 Corinthians 15:54b-55. How does this verse differ from how most people see death?
  6. What can change when we realize that something isn’t final?
  7. Jesus defeated death, which is something people fear, what does that mean for you?
  8. What decisions would you make differently if you made them based on the fact that Jesus has defeated death and fear?

TRY THIS

Leaders, before you dismiss group, have students take the next week and try to notice one time throughout the week that they feared something in their lives. Have them bring that instance to the next group to discuss and share with
one another.

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, it can be difficult for students to see how Easter impacts their daily lives. This week, we’re talking about how Jesus defeated death. Instead of getting stuck on the fear of death and dying, help students connect to what Jesus’ resurrection means in relationship to fear in their own lives.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

April 5th, 2020- In the Nick of Time

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

God took the initiative to provide the way of salvation so that everyone can be made right with Him.

Context

This lesson in Crux focuses on the death of Jesus and how He made salvation available for all people. Jesus’ death was the payment for sin that justifies us and reconciles our relationship with God. His death also demonstrates God’s love and grace. Believing these truths will cause us to rejoice and give Him glory. This lesson also helps students frame a biblical answer for the problem of sin that can be shared with others.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will understand that only through Christ’s death on the cross could the power of sin be broken.
  • Transform: Students will practice the skill of conveying the problem of sin and the solution to sin found in Christ.

Here is the Master Teacher Plan for further reading: In-the-Nick-of-Time

Wednesday Night Worship 04/01/2020: Breakout- Becoming Who God Has called you to Be

BOTTOM LINE

You Can Be Free

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

We want students to understand the importance of guarding their hearts. Too often we settle for lesser things, and less than God’s best for us and our lives.

SCRIPTURE

Psalms 4:23 NIV

Above all else… Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Matthew 26:41 NIV

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak

Jonah 2:8 NIV

Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, remember that it’s ok to get real with your kids. After all we are talking about spotting the fakes and calling out counterfeits.  The reality is, our students are looking to us for guidance and they need true and genuine leaders to pour into their lives.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. What are some objects that you have seen counterfeited?
  2. Have you ever owned a “Fake” of something?
  3. a follow up question to that… Was it worth the price you paid?
  4. What is something you see promoted in the media or in culture, that makes sin seem acceptable?
  5. How can you spot sin, and stop it from taking root in your life?
  6. How are you investing your time, money, and talents?
  7. What things have we allowed to take the place of God in our lives?
  8. What can you do to turn our attention back to God?
  9. Does Your Life Reflect Jesus?

READ THIS

Does Your Life Reflect Jesus?  Or Are You Faking It?

An idol of the heart is anything that captures my love in such a way that I’m distracted from my first love for God. Things, money, pleasures, hobbies, sports, careers, positions of power, or other people can all become idols. If you are loving anything too much, it can take the place of God.

Have you allowed anything into your life or your home that is impure, unholy, ungodly, or unbecoming of a Christ follower? Get rid of it. Whether others know or not, keep your life and your home pure and clean before God.

Love God and one another.  Demonstrate your love for God by spending time with him… Demonstrate your love for others by serving and by meeting needs.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

March 29th, 2020- Everyone Blows It

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

All people have sinned and broken their relationship with God but can be saved through faith in Jesus.

Context

This second lesson in Crux reveals the problem that people have in their relationship with God and the solution that He offers through faith in Jesus. Some people might believe that they are good enough on their own merit to be right with God. Others might believe that they can never be right because of what they’ve done. In this lesson, the opportunity is provided to learn how to respond to these arguments and give a clear testimony about the true path to a relationship with God. Sin is the problem that must be faced by all of humanity. The first step on the path toward salvation is recognition of our sin.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will understand that apart from faith expressed in Jesus Christ, no one can be saved.
  • Transform: Your students will practice the skill of sharing how one may enter into a relationship with Christ through faith.

Here is the Master Teacher Plan for further reading: Everyone-Blows-It

Wednesday Night Worship 03/25/2020:

Save the Date wk 3

BOTTOM LINE

You owe it to yourself to be honest to yourself.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

We want students to understand that being honest with themselves and the people their dating can save themselves from regret both now and later.

SCRIPTURE

2 Samuel 11:1 NIV

In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 11:3 NIV

He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”.

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, remember that some students will need a safe place to talk about their dating relationships (and relationships in general!). Also remember that you will have students in different places when it comes to self-awareness in their dating relationships. Watch for students that you may need to follow up with in a setting outside of small group.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. If you could look at a bio you wrote about yourself two years ago, how much would still be true?
  2. Without naming names or giving specifics, how have you seen someone not being honest with themselves in a dating relationship? How did you see this go wrong?
  3. What are some clues to know you’re not being honest with yourself?
  4. What is an area where you find yourself thinking: That may be true for everyone else, but it isn’t true for me or us? What can make you think you are the exception?
  5. How can it be helpful to have someone else in your life who can “call you out” when you’re not being honest
    with yourself?
  6. What’s an area where being honest with yourself now can save you or your
    relationships later?
  7. Don’t miss this: What can you do to practice being honest with yourself?

TRY THIS

Leaders, this week, try challenging your students to ask themselves: “What is best now? Will it still be the best for
me later?”


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

March 22nd, 2020- Something for Everyone

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

God’s salvation is available to anyone and everyone.

Context

Everything has a place where the rubber hits the road. We call it the crux. In our Christian faith, the book of Romans seeks to help us grasp a clear understanding of what it means to be “saved.” We begin by first discovering that the message of the gospel is that God’s salvation is available to anyone and everyone. We then have the opportunity for two responses to this message: First, we have to choose whether to accept God’s salvation in faith. Second, if we do, then our second response is to acknowledge and accept the call to share this message with all people. The first lesson of Crux will help your students to begin thinking about how they can talk to others about the gospel.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will understand that they possess the most powerful message that can be offered to the world: the gospel.
  • Transform: Students will practice the skill of formulating the gospel message into words that they can share with others.

To access the whole teaching plan CLICK HERE

Wednesday Night Worship 03/18/2020: Save the Date

BOTTOM LINE

Don’t make anyone your everything.

SCRIPTURE

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are wise (Ephesians 5:15 NIV).

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students understand what they miss if they become obsessed with dating; and to encourage them to become well-rounded people.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Name one person, place, or thing that is taking up space mentally and emotionally right now or this week?
  2. How do you know when you’re obsessed with something/someone?
  3. Who do you text/Snapchat/DM from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.? What are you talking about?
  4. What do you miss out on when you’re too serious about someone or something?
  5. Who are you not spending time with?
  6. Who do you have in your life that can help you see that you’re too into it?

Don’t miss this: Aside from dating, what are the top one or two things you do not want to miss out on in school? How can obsession cause you to miss out (including youth group)?

TRY THIS

Leaders, give your students a short, “You might be obsessed if . . .” quiz. While these signs might be real, don’t take it too seriously!

  1. You start to listen to their music even if (or especially if) it’s terrible.
  2. When three minutes is too long to respond to their text.
  3. You make decisions about whether you’re going to an event based off of them.
  4. You feel a twinge of jealously when you see them talk to another guy/girl.
  5. You get upset when people offer you advice about your relationship or if someone offers her/him advice.

THINK ABOUT THIS

Leaders, students can be obsessed about anything, not just relationships. They’re being told, “you need to take this more seriously.” It’s our role in their lives to know the difference between healthy responsibility and unhealthy obsession. One of the best ways to help students understand that difference is by helping them gain the ability to know and identify signs of both.

QUOTE

“Dating is about finding out who you are and who others are.” -Henry Cloud


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

March 15th, 2020- Guide to Life

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Context

The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth to the glory of God.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will understand that when faced with questions or uncertainty in life, the Holy Spirit will guide them into truth.
  • Transform: Your students will apply their understanding by confessing their questions, doubts, or uncertainties to the Spirit and by seeking His guidance.

Wednesday Night Worship 03/10/2020:

BOTTOM LINE

When it comes to dating, becoming the right person>finding the right person

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

We want students to know that no matter if they’re dating, thinking about dating, or not yet ready for dating, becoming the right person is something they can focus on now.

SCRIPTURE

Proverbs 24:27

Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

March 8th, 2020- The Confidence of Certainty

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Context

By now in Empowered, your students have learned that the Holy Spirit empowers them to be witnesses in service and daily living. In this lesson, Jesus explained to His disciples that He would soon depart from them and that the Holy Spirit would descend on them. Initially, Jesus’ disciples appeared to be sad about His upcoming departure. They did not yet understand that they and the entire world would benefit from His leaving. While on earth, Jesus could physically be in only one place at one time. By contrast, when the Holy Spirit came, He could be in all places at the same time. The Holy Spirit would bring conviction to the world. He would point out sin and unrighteousness. In this lesson of Empowered, your students will learn that the Holy Spirit convicts believers to grow in confidence and certainty.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Students will understand that the Holy Spirit convicts people about their lives.
  • Transform: Students will apply their understanding by opening themselves to the Spirit’s conviction and responding with acceptance, repentance, and confidence.

Wednesday Night Worship 03/04/2020: 


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

March 1st, 2020- NO Lesson

This weekend is LIFT 2020 and students will enjoy breakfast and large group time to end the fun weekend.

Wednesday Night Worship 02/26/2020: The Storyteller

BOTTOM LINE

Forgive like you’ve been forgiven.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

We want to help students realize that forgiveness is critical to their faith—both in receiving it and offering it—and that as difficult as it can be, they will never regret practicing forgiveness.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

February 23rd, 2020- The Big Show

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

The Holy Spirit equips us to share the news of Jesus with the world.

Context

When Jesus was preparing to leave this world, He entrusted His followers to continue telling others about Him and calling them to follow Him. It is the same charge that we are entrusted with today. Jesus, however, knew that His way was so contrary to the ways of the world that any who proclaimed it would face immense trouble and persecution. They did not know Jesus or the Father. This made it all the more important to tell people about Jesus. Still, the Lord knew that they would need help. The Spirit provides believers with that help in that He Himself testifies about Jesus and equips them to be able to do the same. The fourth lesson in the Empowered series teaches this truth to students.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal: Students will understand that a primary role of the Spirit is to testify about Jesus and equip them to do the same.
  • Transform Goal: Students will apply their understanding by evaluating the level of risk they are willing to take in order to identify with Christ and be His witnesses.

Wednesday Night Worship: The Storyteller

BOTTOM LINE

When it comes to prayer, don’t quit because it’s quiet.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

We want to help students see that choosing to pray consistently can grow their faith regardless of the outcome.

SCRIPTURE

Luke 11:5-8

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.”.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

February 16, 2020- How Can we Know?

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

The Spirit continues to teach us about Jesus and helps us recall all that He said and did.

Context

The Empowered course is all about the Holy Spirit and the many ways that He empowers Christ-followers to be on mission for God. By this point in the study, your students are learning that this empowerment is crucial for Godly living as God calls us to it. After all, following Jesus and being obedient to His teaching can be difficult for a number of reasons. One is simply trying to remember all that He said and did. Second, there are a number of issues and situations we face in life that Jesus didn’t specifically address. Jesus promised us that when the Holy Spirit came He would remind us of all that Jesus said and teach us all that we need to know. With the Spirit’s help we are able to overcome the difficulties of following Jesus and can let go of the stress and fear that it may place upon us, relying on the peace that He provides.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal: Your students will understand that the Spirit helps us to live according to Christ’s teachings by reminding us of all that He said and instructing us in all that we need to know.
  • Transform Goal: Your students will apply their understanding by identifying areas of their lives in which they currently need instruction and by listening to the Spirit’s teaching.

Wednesday Night Worship 02/12/2020: The Storyteller

BOTTOM LINE

At Jesus’ party, there’s always room for more.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

We want to help students see that they have the ability to affect the experience of others the way they include and invite others.

SCRIPTURE

Luke 14:16-21 NIV

Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’”.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

February 09, 2020-Another Helper

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

The Holy Spirit is our helper and indwells all believers.

Context

In this second lesson of Empowered, we discover that in order to live a life for Christ we obviously have to obey everything that He taught us. Of course, we all know that most of the time that’s something we rarely ever get right. Jesus knew that we’d need help. He promised us, His followers, that He would ask the Father to send His Spirit to be a Helper for us, a helper like He had been. The Spirit now lives within all of Christ’s followers.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will understand that Jesus had the Father send the Holy Spirit to help us live in love and obedience to Christ’s commands.
  • Transform: Your students will apply their understanding by evaluating their own level of reliance on the Spirit’s help.

Wednesday Night Worship 2/5/2020:

Rec Night at MZS. We will play games and fellowship in the CLC (gym).


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

February 02, 2020- We have the Power

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
 
Biblical Truth

The Holy Spirit empowers Christians to fulfill their mission in life.

Context

This is the first lesson in the study Empowered that examines what Jesus taught His disciples about the role of the Holy Spirit in their lives. It begins with a look at the last thing Jesus said about the Spirit before His ascension into Heaven. He had entrusted His followers with the gospel and commissioned them to carry that gospel to the ends of the earth. Jesus, however, knew that this was something that would be extremely difficult and that they would need help along the way. So He instructed them to first wait with each other in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit, at which time they would be empowered to be His witnesses.

Learning Goals
  • Explore: Your students will understand that God’s mission for their lives cannot be accomplished without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
  • Transform: Your students will begin to value the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in their lives.

Wednesday Night Worship 01/29/2020: Biblical Foundations

BOTTOM LINE

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith, but faith is hard.   A biblical foundation is key to how we live out our faith.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that to live a life of faith it is important to have a solid foundation.

SCRIPTURE

Matthew 7:24-27

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

January 26th, 2020- Show Mercy

Biblical Passage
Biblical Truth

Our ability to show mercy to those who doubt provides a witness to God’s love.

Context

The fourth and fifth lessons of Transfer looked at ways that we can serve the world. This last lesson will examine one final way that we serve others—with a little slant. It requires that we exhibit spiritual strength as we witness to those who are hostile to our message. People who do not believe will naturally oppose the gospel message. To maintain an effective witness, your students must devote themselves to building their faith. Then, from a spiritually solid core, they can extend God’s mercy and love to those who doubt and rescue those caught in sin.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal: Your students will understand that as followers of Christ they are to show mercy to those who do not believe in Him.
  • Transform Goal:Your students will plan ways to deliberately act in mercy toward nonbelievers.

 

Wednesday Night Worship 01/22/2020: The Chase

BOTTOM LINE

Chasing Jesus means sharing Him with them.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that one of the best ways to share Jesus is to live a life that reflects the way He lived and treated other people.

SCRIPTURE

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip (John 1:45-46 NIV).


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

January 19th, 2020- Do Good to Others

Biblical Passage
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

As humility and service permeate our relationships, the way we interact with others will reflect Christ’s love.

Context

The Transfer series has been all about teaching students how to lead others to Christ. Our interactions with others can express a desire to serve the world to the glory of God. When a spirit of humility permeates our relationships, that attitude reflects Christ’s love. This lesson explores the many facets of doing good to others. Consistently doing good not only builds healthy relationships, but it also confounds those who wish to persecute the Christian faith. Even strained relationships can provide opportunities to share the gospel message of hope. Humility and service provide a crucial avenue for taking the Word to parts of the world that are hostile or closed to the gospel.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal:Your students will understand that Christ-like conduct will draw people to the message of the gospel.
  • Transform Goal:Your students will apply their understanding by evaluating their behavior toward nonbelievers.

Wednesday Night Worship 01/15/2020: The Chase

BOTTOM LINE

Chasing Jesus starts with a step.

SCRIPTURE

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him (Luke 5:27-28 NIV).


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

January 12th, 2020- Serve the World/Love Others

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Faith in the Lord is inseparable from love for others.

Context

The process that we see in Scripture for reaching the nations includes four broad components. We are to share the Word, show the Word, teach the Word, and serve the world. The first of these was explored in the first three lessons of Transfer. We now turn our attention to the principle of service.

Just as Jesus came as a servant, God’s people model His goodness by serving others. Throughout the Bible, faith in God and love for others are inseparable. Paul notes this connection in his greeting to Philemon. Philemon’s reputation was grounded in his faith and in his love. Paul encouraged him to continue to share his faith actively. We will find opportunities to share the gospel as we develop a reputation of faith in the Lord and put our love into action.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal:Students will learn that their faith in Christ is demonstrated in their love and service for others.
  • Transform Goal:Students will apply their understanding by determining ways to demonstrate faith through interaction with others.

 

Wednesday Night Worship 01/08/2020: The Chase

BOTTOM LINE

Chasing Jesus means not chasing performance.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that growing their faith is about being in a relationship with Jesus, not meeting a certain level of performance.

SCRIPTURE

Luke 10:38-40

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me”.

Luke 10:41-42

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her”.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

January 5th, 2020- Teaching What is Right

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Our teaching should lead people to live Godly lives as evidence of the grace of God.

Context

The third lesson in the Transfer series is the final focus on teaching the Word. This lesson builds on the importance of teaching people how to live in a way that is pleasing to God. In a world that has shifting values about what is right, Paul’s letter to Titus gives believers clear instructions for Godly living. As we mature in our understanding of the gospel, our salvation influences every area of our lives. Godly living says “no” to things that are wrong and “yes” to things that are right. While we must show these values in our actions, we must also clearly teach them to others so that the message is faithfully passed on.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal:Students will learn that teaching through the things they say and do must promote Godly living.
  • Transform Goal:Students will begin to value the importance of living Godly lives.

Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

December 22nd, 2019- (un)SEEN- A Christmas Lesson

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passage
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Those who first heard of Jesus’ birth rushed to be the first witnesses to see the Christ-child.

Context

After the songs of praise, the angels departed. The shepherds went immediately to see the newborn Jesus, sharing what the angels said about the child with Mary and Joseph. While Mary treasured these things, they left the stable, the shepherds told everyone they met about the Christ-child, praising God for all they had seen.

Learning Goals
  • Students will examine the responses of those who witnessed the Christ-child.
  • Students will identify what the birth of the Christ-child means in their own lives.

Wednesday Night Worship 12/18/2019: 

MZS Christmas Party: Ho, Ho, Hoedown


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

December 15th, 2019- Testify to the Gospel

Biblical Passage
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

We should not be ashamed to tell others about the gospel of Christ.

Context

In the previous Transfer lesson, Paul challenged Timothy to teach by example. This lesson will address the second issue in teaching, which is to do so boldly and without shame. The emotions of fear and shame can be significant obstacles to our willingness to tell others about Christ. This is especially true for teenagers. We experience these emotions as a result of the Fall and the presence of sin in the world. The early Church prayed for boldness to proclaim the gospel in such circumstances. Paul faced these emotions head-on in his command to Timothy to testify to the gospel in spite of suffering. We do not need to be ashamed as we teach the gospel message because we can be confident in its foundation in God.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal: Students will understand that there is no reason to be embarrassed about the gospel.
  • Transform Goal: Students will apply their understanding by identifying the fears they have in sharing the gospel and comparing them with the hope they have in Christ.

Wednesday Night Worship 12/11/2019:

Game night and short devotional while student choir practices for the Christmas Celebration.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

December 8th, 2019- Teach By Example

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Teaching through the Word and by example is an essential aspect of our commission.

Context

Transfer is all about how your students are called to direct others to Christ. The disciple-making process requires that we share, show, and teach God’s Word to others. In his counsel to Timothy and Titus, Paul shared insights into how we are to teach the Word to those around us. Part of teaching is related to content, which should be based solely on solid study of God’s Word. Part of teaching is also the example that we set for others. The next six lessons will guide your students through the disciple-making process.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal:Students will learn that making disciples through teaching is part of their commission.
  • Transform Goal:Students will apply their understanding by considering how they might model and teach God’s Word to other students.
 

Wednesday Night Worship 12/04/2019:

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students understand that Jesus was a part of an amazing family tree and that we can be included in that same family tree and a part of God’s family

BOTTOM LINE

The Messiah would be born from the line of David

SCRIPTURE

Matthew 1:18-24

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Ephesians 2:12-13

“In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.”


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

December 1st, 2019- Horizontal Living

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Because we love Christ, we must actively and practically express love to others.

Context

By now, you and your students have become well acquainted with what the Bible has to say about God’s love for us and how we are to express our love for Him. But what about the call to love others? Jesus was clear: The greatest commandment is about loving God, but loving others is a close second. Romans 13 sums up the desired goal of our love for others. By loving our neighbors, we as Christ-followers actually fulfill the spirit of the Law that says that love covers all. And by demonstrating the love of Christ to those around us, we show the world that Christianity is more than mere religion. It is a powerful, contagious revolution built on the foundation of God’s love for the world.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal: Students will learn that they express love to God by obeying His commands to love other people.
  • Transform Goal: Students will identify specific people in their lives who need to be shown love.

No Wednesday Night Activities: Happy Thanksgving


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

November 24th, 2019- Vertical Obedience

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

If we love the Lord, then we will live a lifestyle of obedience.

Context

Up to this point in the The Answer series, you have led your students to the following basic truths: 1) God is love, 2) God demonstrated His love for us through the gift of His Son, and 3) our response to God’s great gift is to love God and to love others. In the last session, students discovered that praise and worship are part of our response. In this session, students will uncover another key component in the proper response to God’s great love for us. In John chapter 14, Jesus stated it clearly: If we love Him, we will obey His commands. In this session, students will be challenged to consider what a lifestyle of obedience looks like.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal:Students will learn that they express love to God by living a lifestyle of obedience.
  • Transform Goal:Students will reflect on what their obedience to God says about their love for Him.

 

Wednesday Night Worship 11/20/2019:

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students think through what it looks like to honor God with their lives and make wise decisions with the help of wise people in their lives.

BOTTOM LINE

Anything that is addictive is a sin, we should strive to be wise and honor God in all things.

SCRIPTURE

1 Corinthians 6:12

All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.

Galatians 5:1

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

1 Timothy 6:11

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

Proverbs 4:6-7

Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

November 17th, 2019- Vertical Worship

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Our hearts are to overflow with praise to God in response to His great love for us.

Context

So you say that you love God. But how do you demonstrate that love? What does Scripture say about how we are to reciprocate the all-encompassing love shown to us by God? In the third lesson, students learned that loving God and loving others is our response to God’s great love. In the third and fourth lessons, students will learn how it looks to love God. Scripture is clear: One of the primary ways in which we show God our love is through worship. We know from Scripture that David had a clear understanding of who God is. David grasped the vastness of God’s love, and out of the overflow of his heart came Psalm 103. David demonstrated his thankfulness and joy through sincere worship of the Lord. Our hearts should mirror David’s. This lesson will help students understand how their worship is a response to God’s great love.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal:Students will learn that praising God in response to His great love should be their lifestyle.
  • Transform Goal:Students will personally and uniquely express their praise to God.

Wednesday Night Worship 11/13/2019: Media & Entertainment

BOTTOM LINE

Evaluate your entertainment.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students become more aware of and proactive in the choices they make when it comes to the entertainment they consume.

SCRIPTURE

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2 NIV).


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

November 10th, 2019- Answering Love

Biblical Passage
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

We are called to respond to God’s love by loving Him and loving others in His name.

Context

God is love. He demonstrated the greatness of His love by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. The question, then, is about how we respond to these two facts. What are loyal Christ-followers supposed to do in the face of such overwhelming love? In this third session in a six-part series on examining God’s love, students will learn about how Christ Himself provided direction in the simplest of terms: Love God and love people. In Matthew 22, Jesus delivered this concise yet profound statement as a response to an expert in the law. By doing so, Jesus married vertical love for God with the horizontal love for others to perfectly present the ethical standard for Kingdom living.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal: Students will learn that they are called to respond to God’s love by loving Him and loving others.
  • Transform Goal: Students will think about whether they are totally demonstrating their love for God in all areas of life.

Wednesday Night Worship 11/06/2019:

Campfire night with music, s’mores, and a short message.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

November 3rd, 2019- Love’s Great Sacrifice

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Love is personified in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who came as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Context

In the last session, students learned that God is the very definition and source of love. Love starts with God. Without God, there could be no true love in this world. In this second of six lessons examining God’s love, students will examine the lengths God went to demonstrate love to His children. The letter of 1 John 4:9–12 communicates the truth that is at the very heart of the gospel message: God willingly sacrificed His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, as the atonement for our sins, and this is the means of life both in this life and for all eternity. There has never been a greater expression of love. But the sacrifice doesn’t end there. In receiving His love, we take on the sacrificial nature of His love. We sacrifice our own will and even our very lives in order to give such love away.

Learning Goals

• Explore Goal: Students will understand that the full extent of God’s love was displayed in Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice.
• Transform Goal: Students will apply their understanding of God’s love by determining ways that they can live sacrificial lives that continually give His love away.

Wednesday Night Worship 10/30/2019: See No Evil; Special Guest

BOTTOM LINE

Change a world, and eventually, you’ll change the world.

SCRIPTURE

James 2:15-17 NIV

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that helping one person may seem small, but it could change their world in a big way.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

October 27th, 2019- The Source

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

God is the source of love.

Context

In today’s teenage culture, the very idea of love has been twisted and corrupted. So where do students go to find true, perfect love? The Bible. After all, it’s impossible to read the Gospels and not encounter Jesus’ all-encompassing message of love. A good argument could be made that love is the basis from which all of Christ’s works and teachings flow. We can say with confidence that Jesus’ obedience that led Him to the cross was born out of love for humanity. But God’s love isn’t found solely in the Gospels. It’s a thread that courses throughout Scripture, weaving its way from Genesis to Revelation. Over the next six lessons, your students will come face-to-face with the most foundational element in the Christian life: God’s Love.

Learning Goals

Explore Goal: Your students will learn that God is the source of real, true love.
Transform Goal: Your students will begin to value God’s love above all other worldly definitions of love.

Wednesday Night Worship 10/23/2019: See No Evil

BOTTOM LINE

Pay attention to the injustice in you.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize the areas of their lives where they may be contributing to injustice in big and small ways.

SCRIPTURE

“How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye” (Matthew 7:4-5 NLT).


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

October 20th, 2019- Isaiah’s Response

Biblical Passage
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

In response to the power and character of God, we respond to Him with a realization of our sin and a strong commitment to His call.

Context

The prophet Isaiah experienced the glory of God in the Temple. There was no way that Isaiah could encounter God like this and not immediately become aware of the sinfulness in his heart. God provided a means of redemption, forgiving Isaiah and cleansing him from sin. Isaiah’s response was immediate: He would serve God by going and doing whatever God desired.

Learning Goals

• Explore Goal: Students will understand that although sin stands as a barrier to our service to God, He can provide forgiveness and restoration that frees us to respond to Him.
• Transform Goal: Students will begin to value God’s calling and purpose for their lives and respond to His mission.

Wednesday Night Worship 10/16/2019:

BOTTOM LINE

Serving starts with seeing.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students begin to see and recognize the evil and injustice happening in the world around them.

SCRIPTURE

Matthew 9:35-36 NLT

Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 9:37 NLT

He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few”.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

October 13th, 2019- Jonah’s Response

Biblical Passage
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

God desires that we respond to His call with faith and trust.

Context

Among the stories of those who responded immediately, boldly, courageously, and positively to God’s call is the story of one who did not. Jonah hated the people of Nineveh. He didn’t want them to turn and repent. He wanted to see God wipe Nineveh off the face of the earth. Therefore, Jonah ran from God’s call—only to place himself and others in peril. After he realized that he could not run from God, Jonah decided that his response should be one of obedience. But his attitude toward the Ninevites and toward God’s grace for them did not seem to change.

Learning Goals

• Explore Goal:Students will understand that responding to God’s call in obedience allows them to fulfill their role in His mission.
• Transform Goal: Students will evaluate ways in which they knowingly or unknowingly say no to God.

Wednesday Night Worship 10/09/2019:

REC Night for MZS. We will be playing games out on the baseball field.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

October 6th, 2019- Not a Timid Response

Biblical Passage
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

When we know the certainty of God’s call on our lives, our responses to Him become automatic, allowing us to move with Him and act and speak as He leads.

Context

After Paul’s third missionary journey, he returned to Jerusalem—something that he knew held great risk for his life but that he believed to be God’s leading. The Jews were hostile toward Paul and were determined to see him put to death. In determining what charges were to be written against him, Festus, the Roman governor in Israel, sought to bring Paul before Israel’s King Agrippa and his sister, Bernice. Paul used his testimony before Agrippa as a witness for the resurrected Christ.

Learning Goals

Explore Goal:Students will understand that their confidence in God’s call as produced by the Holy Spirit will enable them to move boldly with God.
• Transform Goal:Students will begin to demonstrate the boldness that should characterize true servants of God.

Wednesday Night Worship 10/02/2019: Goals

BOTTOM LINE

The goal is to grow.

SCRIPTURE

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:24- 25

24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

September 29th, 2019- Without Delay

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

When it is apparent that God is calling us, we shouldn’t take long to respond in obedience.

Context

As Jesus began His earthly ministry, He called four disciples away from their lucrative jobs in order to follow Him. Simon, Andrew, James, and John left their nets immediately at Jesus’ call. They were already somewhat familiar with Jesus and His teaching. Now they were being called to respond, and their acts were a great expression of their faith in Jesus.

Learning Goals

• Explore Goal: Students will understand that when God calls them to be on mission with Him, His desire is for them to respond without delay.
• Transform Goal: Students will apply their understanding by learning to identify when God calls and by responding in the way that pleases Him.

Wednesday Night Worship 09/25/2019: Goals

BOTTOM LINE

The goal is to love people, not judge people.

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To point students toward using their freedom to love and build others up rather than judge and tear others down.

SCRIPTURE

Galatians 5:13-15 NLT

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”   15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

September 22nd, 2019- As you go

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Jesus was a living example of what He commissioned His disciples to do when he said, “As you go, make disciples.”

Context

Sometimes the Great Commission sounds like too great a task for us to handle. Now that we’ve accepted the call, how do we go and make disciples of all nations? Jesus set the example for us when He said with His life and His lips that as we go about our daily routine, we should be making disciples. As we go, we tell others about what Jesus has done for us. As we go, we bear witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Learning Goals

• Explore Goal: Students will understand that Jesus didn’t just issue the Great Commission—He lived it.
• Transform Goal: Students will apply their understanding by committing to living out Christ’s Great Commission.

Wednesday Night Worship 09/18/2019: Goals

BOTTOM LINE

The goal is to live with the end in mind.

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students see that their choices impact their future and to encourage them to start making wise choices with their freedom.

SCRIPTURE

Galatians 6:7b-10 NLT

7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

September 15th, 2019- What is the Call?

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Responding to God’s call means that we understand what’s at stake and what it will cost.

Context

When Jesus explained to His disciples what the call upon His life meant in terms of cost, Peter challenged Him. Jesus rebuked Peter and explained that the call of God means giving up our own lives and our own agendas, taking on His life, and becoming open and transparent witnesses of God, His purposes, and His plans. There can be no mistake as to whom we are living for if we choose to follow Christ.

Learning Goals

• Explore Goal: Students will understand that responding to God’s call means self-sacrifice and living as His witnesses.
• Transform Goal: Students will begin to value what it means to die to self and live as witnesses of Christ.

Wednesday Night Worship 09/11/2019: Goals

BOTTOM LINE

The goal is to live from approval, not for approval.

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To free students from the cycle of living for the approval of others and point them toward the freedom that comes with living for God.

SCRIPTURE

Galatians 1:10 NIV

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

September 8th, 2019- Sharing His Glory

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Declaring God’s glory to all people in all nations should be the goal of life.

Context

Drive began with an introduction to God’s purpose from the psalms. Psalm 67 states that we have been blessed so that we may declare God’s glory to the nations. The anthem of praise found in Psalm 96 is the benediction to Drive. Individuals, nations, and all creation are called to worship the Lord and give testimony to His glory. The passage concludes with the promise of His return. In this lesson, students will be challenged to commit to making the declaration of God’s glory the goal of their lives.

Learning Goals

 Explore Goal: Your students will understand that God’s ultimate purpose is to declare His glory in all the earth.
• Transform Goal: Your students will demonstrate to God that they understand and accept their role in His mission to redeem the world.

Wednesday Night Worship 09/04/2019: Goals

BOTTOM LINE

The goal is freedom.

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To encourage students to see that faith is about freedom, not rules or regulations.

SCRIPTURE
Galatians 5:1

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

Galatians 5:4

For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

September 1st, 2019- The Mission’s Cost

Biblical Passage
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

God’s mission requires a willingness to sacrifice self-interests—even at great cost.

Context

When God calls us to be on mission with Him, what should we expect? Scripture tells us that there are many wonderful rewards for being a part of God’s mission. However, being on mission with God requires sacrifice, as well. Looking back on the previous lessons of Drive, we see that obedience, passion for God’s glory, and forgiveness all require a sacrifice of ourselves. Through the prediction of His death, Jesus teaches us that complete sacrifice reflects the greatness of God’s love.  He also gave clear expectations that sacrifice and service are required for all who would join His mission.

Learning Goals

• Explore Goal: Your students will understand that participating in God’s commission involves sacrifice.
• Transform Goal: Your students will apply their understanding by evaluating obstacles that stand in the way of being fully engaged in His commission.

Wednesday Night Worship 08/28/2019: REC Night

Color Rush Event for MZS Students out on the MZ ball field.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

August 25th, 2019- Called and Sent

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passage
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

 The call to be a disciple of Jesus includes being sent out to declare the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

Context

In this lesson, lesson 4 of Drive, we learn that Jesus not only calls people to join Him, but He also sends them out to declare the Good News of the Kingdom. Again, we observe the pattern of God working through people to save humanity. The adage “where God guides, God provides” may have its origins in the sending of the disciples and the 72 into the towns of Israel. Jesus specifically prohibited them from taking any provisions. This required them to act in faith. The world remains ready for the gospel message. The need remains for workers who are willing to go. This lesson will help broaden your students’ worldview.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal:   Your students will learn that following Jesus includes being sent out to witness to people around the world.
  • Transform Goal:  Your students will apply their understanding by investigating areas of the world that need to hear the gospel from believers who are willing to go.

Wednesday Night Worship 08/21/2019: Underrated

BOTTOM LINE

Don’t underrate someone because they are older.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To encourage students to pursue older, wiser people to speak into their lives.

SCRIPTURE

Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity (1 Timothy 5:1-2 NASB).


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

August 18th, 2019- Christ’s Commission

Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Obedience to God’s commission results in our blessing and His glory.

Context

If God’s purpose is that His glory would be known in all the nations and if He chose us to be the primary means by which it’s known, then our obedience to the call is crucial. Drive Lesson 3 looks at a moment when Jesus declared both God’s and His own glory. This passage teaches us about God as revealed in His working through His Son, Jesus Christ. However, this moment has specific application for all believers; it teaches us how to be on mission with God in a way that properly reveals who He is. The principle covered in this lesson has to do with obedience. Following Jesus’ example, we must humbly submit ourselves in obedience to God’s direction and leadership. We will be blessed, and will bless others, as He is glorified through us.

Learning Goals

• Explore Goal: Your students will learn that Jesus both gave God glory and received glory from God by living in obedience.
• Transform Goal:Your students will apply their understanding by determining specific acts of obedience they feel led to immediately take.

Wednesday Night Worship 08/14/2019: Underrated

BOTTOM LINE

Only you can own your actions.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that they can’t control the way others act, but they can control the way they act in response.

Scripture

1 Timothy 6:20 NIV

Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge

 Romans 12:18 NIV

18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

August 11th, 2019- The Great Commission

Biblical Passage
 
Supporting Passage
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

Jesus commissioned all believers to become disciple-makers among the nations.

Context

The Great Commission is the ultimate expression of Christ’s call to embrace the purpose of God and to declare His glory to all nations. This passage also outlines a biblical pattern for disciple-making. No passage of Scripture gives a clearer mandate to believers to be on mission. No passage gives clearer details about the purpose and practice of our commission. The Great Commission is our invitation to share the gospel with all nations.

Learning Goals
  • Explore Goal:Students will understand that Jesus has commissioned all believers to follow a pattern for disciple-making among the nations.
  • Transform Goal:Students will apply their understanding by accepting their commission from Christ.

Wednesday Night Worship 08/07/2019: Underrated

BOTTOM LINE

Only you can own your faith.

THE GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

To help students realize that their faith matters right now—not just in the future.

Scripture

1 Timothy 4:12 NIV

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

2 Timothy 1:5 NIV

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

August 4th, 2019- God’s Global Mission

 
Biblical Passage
Supporting Passages
Memory Verse
Biblical Truth

God’s purpose is to bless His people so that His salvation and glory will be known in all nations.

Context

What is God’s mission in the world? What is His purpose? Drive answers these questions but goes one step further. Drive will help your students understand their role in God’s mission. Lesson 1 introduces the theme of the mission with an overview of God’s purpose; namely, that the world would know His glory and salvation. His mission is like the North Star, an immovable point to which our lives should align. God has called us to choose to join His mission. He has blessed us so we may be a blessing to others. This lesson challenges your students to begin to see just how vital God’s mission in this world truly is.

Learning Goals

• Explore Goal: Your students will learn the connection between the blessing of God and the purpose of God.
• Transform Goal: Your students will begin to value the need to be on God’s mission.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

July 28th, 2019- NO LIFEGroups

Pastor Jeff and Sheri Gongwer’s last Sunday with us will be this Sunday. There will be one service at 11 AM and no LIFE groups. Following the service we will have a farewell reception in the gym with light refreshments.


Sunday Morning LIFEGroup Study:

July 21st, 2019- NO LIFEGroups


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